Hi, Hank. A great article, highly-informative and extremely well-written. As an experienced content writer, I really enjoyed reading the article. I am a food-lover and love to make stuff at home. We love processed meat, especially sausages at home but they are not always available at my side of the city.
I will probably use chicken, since although we eat pork at home, it’s frowned down upon by the locals here in Hyderabad, India (surprisingly, even by the non-Muslims). I will also probably use the synthetic casings as people might be a bit squeamish about using animal intestines.
I will probably add a few embellishments and innovations of my own, so once done, I’ll get back in touch and let you know how it goes.
Just what I was looking for, great instructions and tips. Thanks for sharing
Hank, I’ve looked thru your recipes on sausage making and i wish you’d include more recipes using regular meats – beef, chicken, pork etc. The layout and methods in your articles are second to none on sausage making online.
Thanks for these great instructions and helpful tips! I successfully made my own sausages :)
Is it necessary to use a curing salt in this recipe? I’m still in the researching stage of making my own sausages, and some recipes say you definitely need to use Prague powder but others leave it out
Hello Shiona, there is no curing salt in this recipe.
Thank you for excellent instructions. I have made sausage before, but needed a refresher. This was fantastic!
Hey Hank pete here,rusks down here(western Victoria) are those dried hard mini biscuit sticks for teathing babies.More importantly thanks for the concise directions and tips especially about everything cold.My wife and I are back in the chipolata business because of you.Previously we just couldn’t get it right.Cheers mate.
Got a new grinder attachment for my kitchen aid, this was my first attempt at making sausage, used this recipe and it turned out yummy. you are right when you say it will take several hours, and I am a really fast, good cook, but it was every bit of three hours! filling the casings was by far the hardest part of this recipe. looking forward to trying more sausage recipes.
Wonderful and very in formative!
How many hours will you take in making bulk sausage
Do you have any experience with curing these sausages? I really loved all the Info you provide for making the sausage, but I’d love to learn how to cure them as well
I have really enjoyed reading your article, even for one who has never made sausages in my life, I get the feeling that I can hack it. I am considering it as I really do not like any of the sausages available where I live.
Great tutorial! Like the ‘smear’ explanation. That’s where I’m going wrong I think. Cheers
Does hanging the sausage for 2 hours increase the chance of spoilage?
Shouldn’t it go directly into the fridge or freezer?
Just use an online unit converter. http://www.onlineconversion.com/weight_all.htm
I live in South Africa.We always grind our meat first,and then remove the grinder blade and plate,before stuffing our sausages (I have a 1898 model 22 Alexandrewerk hand cranked grinder,120 years old,perfect grinder/stuffer) We are lucky enough to have some of the world’s best venison (game) and domesticated meats (beef,lamb.goat.pork and poultry) I have 3 kg of kudu sausage drying in my biltong maker (Food Dehydrater) as I write this
I have just started to make my own sausages. The taste is oh so good but having problems with binding. When you cut the skin the sausage meat falls apart and the texture is grainy. I am using about 1 cup breadcrumbs to 3lb meat and 1/2 cup red wine along with spices, onions etc .
I brought a small electric mincer come sausage maker on Trademe this week but it is so hard pushing through the mixture.
Do I leave the course plate and cutting blade on when putting the mixture into the casings. I want to try your recipe but don’t want to have the same problem. Maybe I am not putting in enough fat.
Look forward to your reply.
Great tutorial, whats your take on combing cheeses with your sausages ie cheddar brats and the sort.
I don’t do it, but only because I don’t like cheddar brats. I had one too many while at UW-Madison years ago, and they no longer agree with me. But it’s a legit sausage style. ~Hank
I made this sausage recipe last night…mmmmmmmm it turned out awesome! Thank you, I will always use this recipe.. Today I cooked up a couple of links cut up with some sauted onions and bell peppers and olive oil, put on plate with a thin layer of spaghetti topped with a little Marinara sauce and sprinkled it with mozzarella chese, made some toasted garlic torta bread, that’s what I’m talkin about!
Hi Hank, great tutorial. Do you think it is possible to put vegies such as pumpkin, carrot, peas or potato in the sausage mix? I have a very fussy 3 year old who loves sausages but is not so keen on vegies. So I was going to try my hand at making some snags with meat and vegies. I am guessing I will probably need to cook them prior to adding to the mix? any suggestions? Thanks
I know there is a such thing as a potato sausage in Sweden, but I have no experience with it. Sorry! ~Hank
Swedish Potato Sausage uses potato water.
A note to people using a grinder of any kind…I have one from Cabela’s….Make sure the cutting edge of your blade is againt the die…..duh..You may not be as careless as me, but I am guilty of this after using my grinder many times….(getting in a hurry or just not paying attention)….It can be embarrassing in front of your Grandson….
Just made my first batch, we’ll see how it comes out in the morning.
I can not the anise taste in my sausage before I start yours could you tell me what kind of seed you get, do you toast it? I buy mine at the food store. Help please!
I use fennel seed from the store, and no, I do not toast it. ~Hank
Hank, this article is excellent. I’m making my first batch of homemade deer sausage today. I can’t wait to try it. When trying to determine the fat to lean meat ratio do you just eyeball it? Sorry if I missed that info somewhere. And I agree that the colder it is the easier it is to work with. Great tip!
I eyeball it, but you are shooting for a ratio of at least 20 percent fat, and up to 33 percent. ~Hank
Great method, for anyone interested in history from years gone bye, a time when there was no refrigeration, this recipe is over 100 yrs old, handed down from my family, for 100 pounds of meat, 1 pound 15 ounces salt, 7-9 ounces pepper, add what ever else you want, not mentioned above, if your meat is dry when seasoning, the salt, and pepper will stick in one spot , use wine, or water to make it slick, so seasoning will be even, smoking- best smoke flavor ever,will not come back with after taste, corn cobs,
yes used your reciepe, first sausages ive ever, made the patties( i fried before putting into the casings) were very good, I had a problem with the casings though, i used the kitchen aid with the stuffing attachment however i found it very difficult, what kind of stuffer have you got hank and around how much would it cost me. kind regards john
Yeah, I am not a fan of the Kitchenaid stuffer, although I do like the grinder. I have a dedicated stuffer – it’s a stainless steel tube with a cranking press that can handle about 5 lbs of sausage at a time. Can’t remember the brand, though. They cost about $175 or so. ~Hank
Why do I need to use Rusk or Breadcrumbs for making sausages?
Rusk or breadcrumbs help with moisture and succulence. i.e. so that the sausage doesn’t become too dry.
Aha! Breadcrumbs! OK, I get it. It is in fact an English thing. Most sausage-making traditions don’t use them. For example. adding grain/cereals/etc. is considered “cheating” by the Italians and Eastern Europeans. These are the traditions I tend to follow, and I’ve never had a problem with dry sausage so long as you use enough fat. Give this recipe a go without breadcrumbs, and let me know what you think. ~Hank
going to try your reciepe, but just wondering most reciepes call for rusk in there sausages, why do you not use it. thank you great tutorial.
Uh, rusk? I have no idea what you are talking about. I have read hundreds and hundreds of sausage recipes, and I have never seen mention of “rusk.” Maybe it is an English thing? ~Hank
Something I didn’t see in any of the above posts. I made sausage this last weekend with my kitchenaid grinder attachment for the first time and had a horrible time. I used a pork shoulder, cut it into chunks, and put them in the freezer as you describe. The grinder kept jamming up with membrane and I would have to clean it off the blade and die to get the grinder working again. Did I do something wrong cutting up the meat? Would it work with a pork loin?
Weird. That’s normal with gnarly cuts of meat – you just clean the grinder die a few times during the process — but it rarely happens to me with pork shoulder. Pork loin works, but it’s really expensive. I’d just trim as much silverskin as you can find from the pork shoulder next time. You still might need to clean the grinder once or so, but it’ll be a lot better. ~Hank
I have the KitchenAid grinder and stuffer. If the grinder keeps jamming, there is a possibility the cutting blade was put in backwards – I did that the first couple times I used my attachment, until I made a note about it so as to not happen again. :-)
My kitchenaid tends to clog and not allow the sausafe to pass into the casing. Any suggestions?
That’s why I hate using the Kitchenaid sausage stuffer. I’d recommend buying a real stuffer if you are serious about sausage, or to wrap the sausage in grape leaves, blanched cabbage or caul fat if you need a quicker solution. ~Hank Shaw
Thank You very much! Iam from South Africa living in Saudi Arabia-NO PORK… can you assist with a recipe please?
Yep. Use lamb instead. Works just fine. Sheep casings instead of lamb casings. Narrower, but they work. ~Hank
I followed this recipe last night and made homemade sausage for the first time. What a success! Your directions were clear, the photographs helpful, and the resulting sausage was terrific. Thanks for a great recipe.
Great recipe and wonderful photography. I lean more towards the spicier sausages but any Italian sausage is fine by me.
I make a Sicilian sausage with red wine, freshly grated peccorino Romano and other fresh herbs and it’s fantastic. You’ll have a rough time finding that in a store.
if you don’t have a grinder & want to do small batches. hormel & tyson produce ground pork for sale in the meat case of grocey stores. my local one carries both. price is around 2.25/lb. hormel sells in 1lb plastic tubes like your bulk sausage, tyson has thiers in 1lb tubs similar to your ground lamb – & packaged veal products. meat to fat content on both is 80/20. as to your one comment on fat content. played around with a beef mixture that came in at 90/10 first time as bulk. at tasting what came to mind is a summer sausage. when i did a repeat with 97% beef i also thru in the dry mustard seeds. this was a little on the dry side for fat so the 90/10 is about right for fat & taste. next batch will be this with mustard seed tossed in.
In response to an earlier post you made the following comment on making hot italian sausage:
I can do hot Italian next, but to tide you over, switch out the nutmeg and sugar for paprika, cayenne and oregano. And sorry, I have never made kielbasa, but I do know the dominant flavorings are garlic, paprika and marjoram
I prefer making a spicey sausage…as opposed to blazing hot!!! Could you offer up the specific amounts of paprika, cayenne, and oregano you recommend for a spicey sausage? Also, when adding the oregano do you eliminate the parsley?
Yes, you eliminate the parsley. As for spicy vs. “blazing,” what is my spicy may be your blazing. It is all a matter of personal taste. But I would put in 1-2 tablespoons of cayenne, 2 tablespoons sweet paprika and 1-2 tablespons of dried oregano — again, depending on your taste. ~Hank
Great article and tutorial. Do I understand correctly that you don’t recommend the sausage stuffer attachment for the KitchenAid mixer? Thanks.
You do indeed. The stuffer on the Kitchenaid has not been good for the texture of the sausage – it seems to over work it as it goes through the screw drive and heat it up too much. ~Hank
OK – I just got the KitchenAid meat grinder attachment for Christmas, and now I have to use it! Period. Hank – you mention “toasted” fennel seeds – just put them in a dry pan, tun on the heat, and toast them that way? Weigh them before or after the toasting (or does it matter?)
Any suggestions for chicken sausage? Is the 4:1 ratio still valid for chicken sausage? And if so, where would one acquire so much chicken fat? I know there’s a “Club” store around here that sells a chicken, spinach and asiago cheese sausage that is TO DIE FOR, but I wouldn’t even begin to know what else to put in it…. I suppose looking at the ingredient list may help…
Yep. Dry pan, medium heat. Toss seeds continuously until they smell good. Doesn’t matter in terms of weighing. 4:1 is still valid for chicken – use thighs. No chicken fat — it’s too soft. Use pork or beef fat. Hope this helps! ~Hank
After the best Christmas that my family and I have ever had, I decided that it was time to put the meat grinder (gift) to the test. What happened next was unexpected, music, singing, and dancing… The five of us had the time of our lives and we hadn’t even taken a bite of a sausage yet. We cant wait till tomarrow to see what it all tastes like. Thank you so much for teaching me this simple pleasure.
Hey there – Hank, Elise. I know I’m late posting to this one, but was wondering if there was a resource to review spice builds/combinations for traditional sausages like: polish, knockwurst, bratwurst, chorizo, Italian (sweet vs. hot), etc… ? I always wondered what to flavor ground pork with to get a bratwurst flavor. Sure, I can guess and probably some up with my own tasty flavors by boiling it in beer, garlic, onions and peppers… (or even making hoity-toity spinach and feta sausages or something like that) but was wondering what traditional recipes may be out there for the classics.
Lbs, cups, grams… Any chance you know what the volume of the spices are, in tsp., et al.?
Hi Garvey – sausage making is rather precise, especially when it comes to the salt to meat ratio. The best way to get there is with a scale. I made these sausages with Hank and I asked the same thing. Hank doesn’t do volume measurements for his sausage mixes. ~Elise
You made the big difference in my sausage making by mentioning the “bind”. Thank you. I don’t quite understand what it is about mixing that makes that happen. Please explain?
May I also mention that I have success when the casing is wet, especially when I’m sliding it onto the stuffing funnel. Also I was taught to run cold water through the casings before loading it on the stuffer.
Now I plan to find a spice mixture for middle eastern sausages, which use lamb, and which preceded the Italian ones.
Without getting too technical, the mix affects the proteins in the meat so they begin to interlock within the mixture — but if you mix too long, you can smear the fat. 60-90 seconds is good for a stand mixer. And yes, wet casings are the key: This is why I always soak them in tepid water and then run water through them. ~Hank
Thanks for the extremely helpful tute!
Can you share your recipe for the hot Italian sausages? Those are my favourite! And how would homemade keilbalsa be different? I just got a Kitchenaid Grinder attachment and can’t wait to use it!
I can do hot Italian next, but to tide you over, switch out the nutmeg and sugar for paprika, cayenne and oregano. And sorry, I have never made kielbasa, but I do know the dominant flavorings are garlic, paprika and marjoram. ~Hank
You recommend not using the kitchen aid meat grinder for stuffing the sausage. We just got the meat grinder and ordered the stuffing tubes. Can you explain why you don’t recommend using them? We have venison and pork we want to use in the sausages.
Yes, I mentioned it in the post, but the reason is because the stuffer attachments on grinders essentially re-grind the meat — even with spacers and bell stuffers (special gadgets to make this work better). The texture suffers twice: Both because of the re-grinding action, and because you are re-introducing heat to the mixture (the grinder generates heat as it the auger turns inside it). ~Hank
For those (of us) without access to high tech equipment there is still a simple, much older way. This is how my grandmother did it. Everything is much the same until stuffing the links. All you need, however, is a short (8-10 inch) tube that is slightly smaller in diameter (about a quarter to half inch smaller diameter is fine) than the casing. You also need a pusher (a short wooden– or plastic, I suppose) stick that will fit inside the tube. (For the tube you can even use PVC or metal plumbing pipes, although we have a clear plastic tube that works wonderfully. Just make sure it is not lead!)
Place as much of the casing over the tube as possible. When no more can fit, leave a 3 inch tail and cut the casing, leaving the rest for the next go-round.
At the other end of the tube, I like to use something like a pastry bag. The “rule” is that you keep stuffing the tube, jamming it into the casing using the rod.
I’ve found it somewhat easier to fill a plastic bag with the sausage, squeeze into the tube until the casing begins to fill. Pinch off the end of the casing until it stops being pushed out Quit when there are just a couple of inches of casing left on the tube. Remove the “pastry” (sausage?) bag and ram the rod thru the tube to push the last sausage into the casing. Tie off. Start over.
Also.. since you got me going… we love goat sausage. You didn’t mention goat. Goat is the world’s most popular meat. It is just moderately hard to get in the USA.
Yep, I know of this method, but it is a pain — at least to me. And unless your tube has a soft opening, the edges can rip the casing. Still, thanks for putting it out there as it is definitely an option. As for goat, funny you should mention it, as I am planning to make a Greek goat sausage in a week or two… ~Hank
This is a great article about sausage making. Very how-to and thorough.
You’re absolutely right about the 4:1 meat to fat ratio. We always use fatty pork shoulder too. Kielbasa is a family specialty. My in-laws used to put me to work in the kitchen, chopping the last pound of meat slightly larger than the large grind die so that the sausage texture was perfect (in his estimation). Then we would pull out their ancient sausage press and I would turn while he fed the casings.
The one tip I would recommend about hanging (essential to the texture) is to hang them in a cold place. We use our super cold garage in the winter, hand them high keep kids, cars, dogs out overnight. It works perfectly.
Great recipe! Is there a sausage stuffer you recommend?
I bought mine from a restaurant supply store, but you can get them online from The Sausage Maker and Butcher & Packer. ~Hank
You bring back memories!! In the country,here in Southern Miss.,I used to help make sauage,cure hams,ect,the old way.We,would start off,with maybe 3-4 hogs a day.My job,as of about 12 years old,was to put the fire under the old wash pot,cast iron,and heat water for scalding to scrape hair off,then,helping and clean pot,for cooking out fat,crackling,etc.Then,taking all the casings to wash and clean,for sauage.Help make sauage,and start the smoke in the smokehouse.Fix the salt meat,and hang the hams up for smoking.I still own the equiptment for the job.The last I made was about 375 lbs.,about 14 years ago!! I sure would like to have the old smokehouse,and I am thinking about building one.”The Greatest of Times”!!
This may sound like a dumb question, but where do I get the pork fat? Do I ask the butcher for it?
Yep. Even a supermarket butcher should be able to get you some. ~Hank
Hank is absolutely right about the fat issue. I recently got the grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid, and tried my hand at making sausage. Lean sausage. Lean pork and veal sausage. Not my finest moment in the kitchen, by any means. It has this rather curious saw dust texture. This sad little experiment is being browned off and tossed into my next batch of red sauce, with the hope that it will just fade into the background. Next time, veal out, pork fat in!
Wow this great ! I’ll try your recipe with no casing, I do have all the
attachments on my KitchenAid just because I never buy ground meat
with all the recalls we have. It is a good investment. Can I use beef
with the pork fat?
Yep, you certainly can use beef. ~Hank
How about making chorzio? Is this recipe pretty much how you would do it and then just add chorizo seasoning? My husband is so picky when it comes to chorizo I have a hard time finding what he wants and if I could make my own then maybe he wouldnt be such a baby! :) Thanks, Jody
Not really. Mexican chorizo is essentially a spreadable sausage where the casing is really just packaging. If you used my recipe with chorizo seasoning, it might be tasty — but it would not be a real Mexian chorizo. ~Hank
I was wondering if you could elaborate on using the cabbage leaves as casings? I have family members who do not eat pork for religious reasons, and I would love to be able to make lamb/beef/veal/chicken/turkey sausages for them. Thank you!
Basically you wrap the sausage like a burrito or a stuffed grape leaf (also an excellent sausage wrapping!). They will not be as tightly wrapped as with a casing, but it’ll work for a braised or steamed dish. You could also tie the little packages with kitchen twine and grill them gently. ~Hank
You can also buy lamb (skinny), hogget/mutton (medium) and beef (large) casings.
I have always been intimidated by making sausages but this step by step should make things easier.
Plus are those flames on that Kitchen Aid???? I now think that mine needs some flames!
You bet those are flames! My girlfriend Holly took the mixer to an auto detailing shop and had them painted on as a Christmas present…waaay coool…. ~Hank
My parents and I have been eating these sausages all week. Having them for eggs with breakfast. Cooking them up into spaghetti sauce. They really are the best Italian sweet sausages we’ve ever had.
It was a ton of fun hanging out with Hank and Garrett making sausages. Now I totally want to go get a grinding attachment for my KitchenAid. Stuffing them into casings was fun too, though you can imagine the 10-year old boy humor from the guys during that process. South Park meets Family Guy in Hank’s Kitchen.
I think I love you. I live in Israel and Italian style sausage simply can’t be found, not in any form. I’ve spent years searching with no joy. It would be great to be able to make my own.
I don’t have a meat grinder anymore though, it went with a machine that died. Do you think I could get away with using a food processor to make this if I wasn’t trying to stuff links? What I most want the sausage for is things like pizza topping, pasta sauce and the occasional patty. (While I like eating sausage links I’m a bit squeemish about the whole casing thing, so I definitely don’t need the ability to stuff them at home.)
Yes, you can use a food processor — pulse it a few times — but the result will not be as good because you will get bits of all different sizes and food processors tend to get hot fast. I don’t recommend it, but in a pinch it can suffice. Don’t forget to mix after chopping, so you get the bind. ~Hank
Making homemade sausage is easy and fun and should remain that way. First time sausage makers should, in my opinion, skip the stuffing into the casing until they are more comfortable with the sausage making and simply portion this into 1/2 or 1 pound portions for recipes calling for bulk sausage.
I have a Kitchen Aid meat grinder and stuffer and still prefer my hand grinder for the texture it produces (cost about $16-$20).
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